Something very sad happened recently. You may remember that on 18th September I posted about my Strawberry and Cream Macarons, well don’t cry…..but they got lost! Lost in the world of cyberspace forever! However I decided that it would be such a shame to lose them forever so here it is again! I hope you enjoy it!
Last time I wrote this I wrote about my experience in the Paralympic Closing Ceremony on 9th September. I was a flag escort and walked out with the San Marino flag bearer. We all formed a heart shape and then a heart of fire lit up around us. After we had done our bit we joined Team GB to watch the rest of the show. It was just amazing and Coldplay were just incredible. One of the best experiences of my life. I was on such a high from the Paralympic Ceremonies that it has taken me ages to come back down to earth! Now I am gathering things together for my London 2012 scrapbook. You can read about my Paralympic Opening Ceremony experience here. I even made Paralympic Cupcakes!
Now I am back at University and life has started to get back to normal…although I am looking forward to my next time on stage now in Half a Sixpence with Epsom Light Opera Company! Not long to go! Rehearsals also make the perfect opportunity to bake cakes for people (not that I need an excuse)! Every time I watch The Great British Bake Off I want to make what they have been baking, I am building up such a list I don’t know how I will fit it all in! Don’t forget to enter your Bake Off inspired bakes into my Bake Off Challenge….deadline for the next round up is 5th October!
Now back to resurrecting my Stawberry and Cream Macarons:
To make macarons I use this recipe and technique from the Delicious Magazine Website. I find it works really well. You can see how to make the basic macarons here on my Cappuccino Macarons post. The recipe and technique are exactly the same for these macarons, the only difference being adding the food colouring. It is really important that you don’t overmix when you add the ground almonds, or your macarons will be like pancakes. To avoid this you need to add the colouring to the beaten egg whites before you add the almonds. Fold the colouring into the egg whites gently, until the colour is even, then add the almonds. I did the same thing for my Chocolate Orange Macarons. The colour I used was the Sugarflair Pink Paste, a little goes a long way and pastes are good because they don’t water down your mixture.
Once you have baked the macarons you can do the filling. I filled these with strawberry jam and buttercream.
To make the buttercream:
100g softened unsalted butter
200g sifted icing sugar (I used golden icing sugar, hence the colour of my icing)
drop of vanilla extract
Beat together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla until well combined. Add a drop of milk if you need to loosen the icing up to pipe it.
Pipe the buttercream onto half of the macarons and had a blob of jam. Sandwich the halves together. I decorated my macarons using a Sugarflair Sugar Art pen.
And here is the heart that we formed with the flags in the Closing Ceremony:
Well I did it, I completed the London to Brighton Bike Ride. The ride itself was 54 miles and we cycled to Clapham to start too, so a total of 61 miles! It was hard work but I really enjoyed it, ready to do it again next year now! We were really lucky with the weather too and the sun came out to say hello to us. We finished the day off with a BBQ on the beach!
This isn’t the same thing as Angel Food cake, this the simple coloured, layered sponge cake that you find in the supermarkets. Angel cake is one of my all time favourite cakes, I love the colours and the simplicity of the cake, it just looks so pretty! Strangely enough though it wasn’t a girl that requested I make this pretty looking cake. My boyfriend has a Construction Company, you can see his website here, and he often likes to take cakes in for people working with him. Apparently this request for layered angel cake came from his plasterer! Fine by me! To make the cake I just used a simple sponge recipe, the only difficult bit was that I only have 1 loaf tin so had to bake each layer separately, but each layer is thin so it is still really quick to make. The other thing was that I didn’t have any yellow food colouring and so rather than going out to buy some I decided to use orange instead, I think it looks quite nice! The layers are sandwiched together with vanilla butter cream and the cake can then be sliced and eaten. Simple but pretty and delicious! I know my sister is also a fan of Angel Cake, she is in a cheerleading team called Surrey Angels and so made an angel cake for them once, although I didn’t get to see it! I also just remembered that I got a slice of Mr Kipling Angel Cake from the bus stop on Tottenham Court road when it was dispensing cake slices! Random!
To make this cake you need:
8oz margarine or butter (I like to use Stork in sponge cakes)
8oz caster sugar
8oz self raising flour
3 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
1tsp vanilla extract
Food colouring (Pink and yellow/orange)
Lightly grease a loaf tin and line the base. Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream together the butter and sugar and then beat in the eggs one at a time until well mixed. Add the milk and vanilla and mix well. Fold in the flour using a spatula. Divide the mixture evenly between 3 bowls. Leave one bowl as it is, add some pink food colouring to one bowl and yellow to the final bowl (or orange if you don’t have yellow!). Mix well, remember a little food colouring goes a long way (I use Sugarflair Pastes).
Pour one bowl of cake mix into the prepared tin and bake at 180C for about 15 minutes, or until the cake springs back when it is touched. Leave to cool on a wire rack and cook the other 2 layers one at a time. Leave all 3 layers to cool on a wire cooling rack until completely cool.
Beat all the ingredients together until the icing is smooth.
Coat 2 of the layers with the icing and sandwich the cakes together. Tidy up the icing at the edges and slice the cake. Done!
Thank you so much to those of you who have already nominated me in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2012. If you haven’t done so yet but like my blog and would like to nominate me then please use this link to nominate me for Best New Food Blogger. As my blog is also under 1 year old you can nominate it into Best Newcomer with Next and be in with the chance of winning a shopping spree! Thanks!
Today I tried Dip Jacks. Not heard of them? These are flapjacks that come complete with a dip – an excellent idea! I love the sauce in the little bottle and you even get a little pot to put it in for dipping! I’m quite a fan of flapjacks and these were really delicious. Checkout www.dipjacks.com they sell delicious gourmet flapjack fingers with a chocolate dip-in sauce. The flapjacks are made with natural ingredients and arrive freshly baked in boxes. Follow them on twitter @dipjacks.
Last night I went to Trafalgar Square to watch La Boheme – one of the BP Summer Big Screens. It was a lovely night, although a little chilly and they even gave us free blow up cushions, which came in very handy! There are screens all over the country and a couple more screenings of opera and ballet this summer, so if you are looking for something to do one evening then I can recommend it! We took a little picnic complete with cake. This chocolate tray bake is iced with pink and chocolate ruffle icing and decorated with Hershey’s kisses. My sister went to New York recently and bought these back. I think they make lovely cake decorations! They are American and they begin with H, so I think that counts for entering them into both Alpha Bakes (the theme this month is ‘H’) and United Bakes of America.
To make the tray bake:
8oz golden caster sugar 8oz self raising flour 4 eggs splash of milk
1tsp vanilla essence
2oz cocoa powder (seived)
Cream together the margarine or butter with the sugar and then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the milk and vanilla essence. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder until it is all mixed well. Pour the batter into a greased and lined tray and bake in the oven at 180C for about 1/2 hour (the time will depend on the size of your tray), the cake is done when it is spongy when touched. Remove from the oven at cool on a wire rack.
For the icing use 200g softened unsalted butter and beat with 400g icing sugar and 1-2 tbsp of milk. Divide the icing into 2. To one half add pink food colouring and mix well. I used Sugarflair Spectral Pink Paste. To the other half add cocoa powder to make chocolate icing. I love the look of pink and chocolate together. I used the ruffle technique again like I did on this cake. I think it is really effective and it is quite easy as long as you have the right nozzle. I used Wilton 104 which is a nozzle you can also use for piping roses onto cupcakes. Finally decorate with Hershey’s Kisses so that every square has a kiss on it!
Please leave a comment, I really appreciate all comments.
Thank you to those of you who bought my Dad’s debut book on Amazon that I wrote about here on my last blog, I hope you enjoy it! If you haven’t done so already then check it out here, it is an excellent book!
Hope you all have a lovely weekend! What is everyone baking this weekend?
In this blog I would like to introduce another Wilton nozzle that I love. This one is a petal nozzle, Wilton 104. It is great for doing the ruffle icing like I have done on this cake, but also for decorating cupcakes with roses (a blog post on this icing is on its way soon!). One of the things I love about baking is being really pleased with something that I have made and seeing other people’s reaction to it. This cake is one that I was very pleased with, and the simple but effective icing gives it that wow factor. I decided to make this a chocolate cake (because everyone loves chocolate) with bright pink icing, because the two colours look really effective together when the cake is cut. However I did have my usual problem with this cake ….. transporting it! Although you will be pleased to hear it made it to the party in one piece thanks to some careful teamwork to get it there. In other words me carefully holding the cake in its box on my lap while shouting at my boyfriend to drive slowly, doesn’t he know he is transporting a special cake! Despite his sometimes not so careful driving though, it was all fine!
For the chocolate cake I used the chocolate cake recipe in The Primrose Bakery Book
. It is on the cookies and cream page, but I doubled it to make this triple layer cake. It is the same recipe I used for my Chocolate Orange Cupcakes. The recipe uses melted chocolate in the cake rather than just cocoa powder, which gives it a lovely texture, almost on its way to being a brownie, and it is lovely and chocolatey.
You will need:
230g dark chocolate
170g unsalted butter
350g soft brown sugar
4 large eggs, separated
370g plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
500ml semi skimmed milk
2tsp vanilla extract
Start by preheating the oven to 190C. Grease a cake tin and line the base.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and then leave to cool slightly.
In a mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Once you have added all the egg yolks add the melted chocolate to the mix and beat well again.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a separate bowl and mix them together. Measure the milk using a measuring jug and add the vanilla extract to the milk. You now need to gradually add alternate amounts of the flour mixture and the milk to the chocolate, mixing well after each addition until all of the flour and the milk are added.
In another bowl whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Use a spatula or a metal spoon to fold the egg whites into the cake batter until you can’t see any white and it is all combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven. It is a pretty huge cake so takes ages to bake. Mine took about 90 minutes but it will depend on your oven and the size of the tin you use, so just keep an eye on it. It will be done when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool for half an hour in the tin and then turn out onto a wire rack to completely cool. Once the cake is completely cool you can use a large serrated knife to slice the cake into 3 layers. Depending on the shape your cake formed when it cooked you might also need to trim a bit from its domed top so that it sits flat. I like to use the bottom of the cake for the top of the cake as it is flatter and has the sharper edge.
To ice the cake using the ruffle icing technique you need a lot of icing. Try this recipe and it should be enough. I didn’t make quite enough and ended up having to go on an emergency butter run after I ran out of icing with just 2 rows of ruffles to go! If you have to make up more icing be very careful with the food colouring to make sure you get exactly the right colour.
When using food colouring to colour icing I find that the paste colours are a lot better. They are a lot stronger than the liquid food colourings, so you only need to use a really tiny amount. Stick the end of a spoon in the pot and scrape it into the bowl. You really don’t need much but keep adding the colouring a little bit at a time until you get the colour you want. Using pastes rather than liquid colouring also means you aren’t thinning out your icing by adding more liquid.
Beat the butter to soften it. Sieve half the icing sugar into the bowl and beat it in. Sieve in the rest of the icing sugar and beat well again. Add a tbsp of milk to the icing at a time to loosen it if necessary. Add the colouring to get your desired colour.
First of all use the icing to sandwich the 3 layers of the cake together. Also spread a thin layer of icing on the board that you are putting your cake on so that it sticks down rather than sliding around.
Cover the cake in a thin coating of icing. This will catch any crumbs but will also leave a nice base so that the cake doesn’t show through the ruffle icing.
Now you can do the ruffle icing. You need a piping bag with a petal nozzle (I used Wilton 104). Fill the piping bag with icing, squeezing it down to the end and getting rid of any air trapped in the bag. To do the piping you need to hold the nozzle with the fat end nearest to the cake and the thin end pointing away from the cake. Holding the piping bag up vertically. Start at the bottom of the cake and move the nozzle from left to right as you move up the cake.
Do the same for the top of the cake until it is all covered!
I decorated the cake with little butterflies using ready to roll icing and a butterfly stamp cutter. I brushed a little glitter onto the butterflies too. I used Rainbow Dust, The Edible Silk Range, Starlight Comet White. This glitter is very fine but it is actually edible, rather than the really sparkly stuff which is just non toxic. I feel happier using things that are actually edible! To make the wings stand up, fold up some strips of card board and leave the butterflies to set in the v’s of the cardboard.
To finish…top the cake with butterflies and you are done!
Wow that was a long post! Hope you enjoyed reading it and well done if you made it to the end!
I have gone a bit lemon crazy recently and these cupcakes were one of the results. I made these to take to lectures as a thank you to people reading my blog! So here are another set of cupcakes that survived the journey all the way across London, and on the tube in rush hour, I think they deserve a round of applause. These are lemon cupcakes with a lemon curd filling and a lemon cream cheese icing, lemon lemon lemon!
So, if you want to make these luscious lemon cupcakes, you will need:
For the cake:
6oz butter or margarine
6oz caster sugar
6oz self raising flour
splash of milk
zest of 1 lemon
Cream together the butter and the sugar and then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add a little bit of the flour if the mix starts to curdle. Once the eggs are beaten in then fold in the flour. Finally mix in a splash of milk and the zest of 1 lemon. Line a muffin tray with cupcake (muffin) cases and spoon the mixture into the cases. This recipe will make 12 cupcakes. Bake in the oven at 180C for 15 minutes until the cakes are springy to touch. Cool on a wire tray.
Then you will need:
Once the cakes are cool use a small sharp knife to cut away a small circle from the top of the cake. Fill the hole with lemon curd and replace the top. Your cupcakes will now burst with lemon when you bite into them.
Beat the icing sugar and butter together, trying not to get icing sugar flying everywhere as I normally do. Add the cream cheese and beat until well incorporated, light and fluffy. Mix in the zest of a lemon.
Now you are ready to spread on your icing, or get piping! I used my trusty Wilton 1M nozzle to pipe these. I did half of the cakes using the white icing and decorating with lemon zest. The other half I did two tone pink piping and decorated with fondant butterflies. To do the two tone piping read my Winter cupcake (some cupcakes that are quite apt for today’s snowy weather) blog post here.
And as a special addition to today’s post and the results of getting my sewing machine down from the loft….. here is my Lottie’s World of Cakes and Bakes apron that I have made!
Wrap up warm everybody and enjoy the snow!
Lottie xx (PS. if you haven’t done so yet, follow me on twitter! @lotts_louise )!
If you like this post then please leave a comment!
So, I just couldn’t wait, I had to test out my new piping nozzle straight away! And I love it! I felt like making something pretty to take round to a friend’s house and thought some pretty butterfly cakes to match my butterfly blog would be perfect! And baking is always a welcome break from revision!
Vanilla Cupcake Recipe:
6oz caster sugar
6oz self raising flour
2 large eggs
splash of milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
Simple, mix everything together in a big bowl. Starting by mixing the butter and sugar, then adding the eggs one at a time. Add the flour and fold in with a metal spoon. Finally mix in the milk and vanilla. Spoon into cupcake cases, filling each one about 2 thirds full and bake in a preheated oven (180C) for 15 -20 minutes.
Mix the icing sugar and butter together first. Add the cream cheese all at once and mix it quickly on a high speed, but make sure you don’t overbeat it as it will go runny.
Once the cakes are cooled, you can ice the cakes! Swirl the icing on to the cakes using a knife or use a piping bag. Then decorate! I made butterflies out of white fondant icing to use on mine.
To get the effect on the white cakes (I think it looks like whippy Ice Cream!) start from the outside and pipe in to the centre. For the rose effect on the pink cakes, start in the centre and pipe outwards.